O’Reilly project approved

City of Johnstown Code Enforcement Officer Bruce Heberer discusses the O'Reilly Auto Parts store project at the Johnstown City Planning Board meeting Tuesday at City Hall. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The city Planning Board on Tuesday approved a project to locate a O’Reilly Auto Parts store on Route 30A.

Action at City Hall followed a presentation by O’Reilly representative Casey Burch.

Burch, senior project engineer for Solli Engineering LLC of Monroe, Conn., said that the 138 N. Comrie Ave. project first announced in February needed to construct a 7,225-square-foot building. But drawings presented Tuesday modified the project to a larger 7,454-square-foot store. The new O’Reilly store will be located between Wendy’s restaurant and the Microtel.

The planning board approved O’Reilly’s site plan application following a public hearing, during which there were no speakers.

The board, which last month declared itself lead agency for the project’s required State Environmental Quality Review, issued a “negative declaration,” after hearing from City Engineer Christopher Vose that no one commented during the SEQR process. That declaration means there are no environmental issues related to the project.

Board Chairman Peter K. Smith said O’Reilly’s project was referred to the Fulton County Planning Board.

“The county planning board has recognized no regional implications,” he said.

Smith said his board also received an engineering report on the project.

City Code Enforcement Officer Bruce Heberer said O’Reilly’s sign meets city zoning setback regulations.

According to plans, O’Reilly’s will provide over 40 parking spaces. A loading area will be located at the northeastern corner of the building. O’Reilly’s stores don’t require a loading dock to unload merchandise into their facilities. All merchandise will be off-loaded via hand truck and brought into the store through a side door.

“It will be a small delivery truck,” Burch said.

The project also proposes a concrete dumpster at the northeastern corner of the property.

Plans show the property will continue to be accessed from two existing curb cuts off North Comrie Avenue, but Burch said the company can look further into traffic flow onto Route 30A. He said plans were drawn with no input from the state Department of Transportation.

“We have an ongoing issue with left turns the length of Comrie Avenue,” Smith told Burch.

Heberer noted it is especially difficult for traffic to exit left out of Route 30A businesses from 3 to 6 p.m.

According to its website, O’Reilly’s began as a single store in 1957 and now it has nearly 5,000 locations.

The website says that by 1932, Charles F. O’Reilly became manager of Link Motor Supply in Springfield. One of his sons, Charles H. (Chub) O’Reilly, had also joined the company. Together they made Link the predominant auto parts store in the area.

In 1957, Link planned a reorganization, which would have included the retirement of 72-year-old Charles F. O’Reilly, and the transfer of C. H. O’Reilly to Kansas City. Since neither agreed with these plans, they made the decision to form their own company, O’Reilly Automotive, Inc. They opened for business on Dec. 2, 1957 with one store and 13 employees in Springfield.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.